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Central plan for enhancing wheat production

Written by: Staff
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Ludhiana, Nov 19 (UNI) Alarmed over the declining wheat yield in the country, the Centre is examining a package of proposals of the Ministry of Agriculture for enhacing wheat production and productivity including a plan to be implemented in 138 wheat growing districts of the country.

This was disclosed by Agriculture Comissioner N B Singh while interacting with Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) agri scientists during his visit here last week. Dr Singh also held discussions with Vice Chancellor K S Aulakh to obtain first-hand feed-back on steps required to reverse the decling wheat production.

Dr Singh gave an outline of the contours of the proposed action plan and how government intended to intervene through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). The plan envisages a three-year plan to be implemented in 138 districts covering an area of 13 million heactares.

Dr Singh said in this Rs 2,482 crore plan, the share of the Central Government is Rs 1,241 crore and that of the wheat growing states is Rs 548 crore. Rest of the contribution will be through the beneficiaries.

Dr Singh during his discussions with Dr Aulakh agreed that the slogan for enhancing wheat production and productivity is ''timely sowing''. The optimum time is between October 15 and Mid-November.

Dr Aulakh explained that timely sowing would mean production of an additional two quintals of wheat per hectare. Dr Singh said the government has proposed to plant front-line demonstration plots every 50 hectares and provide mini-seed kits to the state governments. In all 48,000 demonstration plots are proposed in the country.

Another proposal under consideration requiring government intervention is to raise subsidy on seed from two rupees per quintal and provide logistics support through promotion of improved agronomic practices including zero-tillage, mulching and sprinkler irrigation.

It is proposed to give 50 per cent subsidy on the zero-till drills and also to provide adequate subsidy on micronutrients, as soil is deficient.

Dr Singh said since India had to import five million tonnes wheat this year due to fall in production, the stress is to reverse this trend, exploit the potential and bridge its gap with actual production. To encourage research and development and evolve new technologies as well as new varieties through biotechnnology, the Centre will ask the ICAR to lend financial support to agricultural universities, he explained in his discussions.

According to Dr Singh the projected production of wheat is 69.62 million tonnes against requirement of 76.61 lakh tonnes in 2006-07.

The figures for 2011-12 are 70.32 million tonnes and 81.95 million tonnes, respectively.

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